Ask Judy O.: Listing Disappointment

Dear Judy O.: I have had my home on the market now for 2 months and it is not selling. I feel that the agent is not doing an effective job and I want to cancel our 6-month listing agreement.  He won’t release me from the agreement so now I can’t do anything for another 4 months.  Is this legal?

Answer: It is unfortunate that your home is not selling and that you have lost confidence in your agent. If you have had your home on market for two months and not received an offer, obviously some aspect of the process is not working correctly.

But before jumping ship here, I would at least have a frank conversation with your agent and really lay all your cards on the table.  Dissecting the bits and pieces of the marketing process may be easier and produce a better outcome than starting over with a new agent.  As the seller, you are a pivotal part of the sale process and an open communication with your agent is essential.

When you decided to work with this agent, you obviously started out with some trust in him and his marketing plan.  I would sit down with him and look at the tools being used to promote your home.  Perhaps some of them may need to be adjusted, changed or others added.  How did you arrive at the list price for your home? Did you review the recent sales activity before pricing your home so that your home was positioned correctly? What were buyers saying about your home in the first week or two of marketing and was your agent getting requests for showings?  Did you ever discuss taking a price reduction?

If there is truly an impasse, the next step would be to meet with the agent’s manager, since the contract itself is really between you and the broker (i.e., the company).  While the broker would have to agree to release you from the agreement, an alternative may be to consider working with another agent in the office who may be a better fit. You can then continue with the marketing of your home through the same broker without a major disruption.

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